Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: KonMari

Housekeeping (or Kon Mari 12 months later)

Think I mentioned last time I plopped ma fingers on the keyboard that I would maybe have a wee chat you youse alls about the houseworkings. Now, I am at best, an ordinary house keeper. I have staff to deal with the basics – the ironing disappears on Monday morning and comes back on Wednesday all smooth and delicious. The dog hair and dust disappears in a similar fashion on a Friday. Crinkle free clothes and a clean house – what more can a lassie desire?

Well.

A lassie might like a gourmet chef to prepare delicious, nutritious and calorie free meals, someone to hunt and gather free range and organic ingredients for aforementioned meals; and someone who will transform the slightly grubby and well-worn clothing into a suitable state for de-crinkling. Yeah. Like that’s ever going to happen. There are also those rotten little jobs that fall outside the bailiwick of the cleaning fairy and the ironing fairy, like cleaning the oven, and murdering the dust bunnies behind the bed, and washing the fucking shower curtain so it doesn’t go mouldy.  Oh, and cleaning the damn coffee machine. Sour milk and coffee smell so attractive. Not. There’s a whole heap of other little jobs that – while you know the earth won’t fall off its axis if they’re not done – make the earth rotate a lot more smoothly when they are.

Hence my dalliance with the Flylady and the KonMari business – I’ve also dallied with a few other ‘cleaning systems’ in the past as well, with similar amounts of (ahem) success. I keep going back to Flylady because she does keep track of those Little Jobs; and I keep breaking up because the twee and mundane and the fucking hell, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Lordy.

Now, I gave KonMari’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a red hot go last year. I looked for joy in all the right places, and I culled and I cleaned and I sorted. Bags and bags of stuff got sent to the op shop and the school fete and to friends with needs for random things that I had but didn’t need. Then I got to a point where I a) didn’t want to spend all my free time tidying up and b) reached a level of ‘clutter’ I can more or less live with. I live with three other people and a hairy little dog, and we all have our own level of mess. Obviously, mess times four is not sustainable (the dog also contributes hair and leaves her toys around the house, so it’s really mess times five), but a girl has to have some light in her life. So, I stopped tidying for a bit to see what would happen.

And this is what happened…

Clothes – well. I have gone back in to all our clothes every few months and culled a bit and culled a bit more and culled a bit too much (oops) to the point where I had to replace a few items with “it will do for now” rather than actual joy sparkers, because public nudity is still not an acceptable thing. On the plus side, some joy sparkers I did keep are now in rotation after the diminishing bosom diminished enough I can do up buttons. There’s nowt like shopping the wardrobe for a wee bargain or ten. BUT, in saying that, the last cull was a wee shopping bag between the four of us, rather than 5-6 garbage bags it was the first time and 3-4 the second time; and to the best of my knowledge, nothing was new with tags. Also, in the past, sorting clothes was a FULL day’s job for the four of us. Now, it took me less than an hour to sort Reg and my wardrobes, and maybe 20 minutes each for the kids. Win.  I have become a more discerning shopper – I know that I do not like certain cuts of t-shirt, I don’t like some fabrics, and I prefer dresses with no defined waist lines. I will go shopping for a precise item of clothing and only buy that item. (And if someone knows where I can replace a pair of butt-ugly walking shorts with pockets, I will be eternally grateful) I’m saving a fortune! Even with the kids clothes, I am buying half what I would have bought them in the year.

Oh, and when I fold the clothes, I can’t help but mutter to myself about Ms Kondo’s folding theory being alright for teeny tiny Japanese lady clothes and underpants for teeny tiny Japanese lady bottoms, while I wrangle the suitable for a six foot plus cuddly Anglo Saxon man’s clothes into submission so they’ll fit into the teeny tiny 1950’s style cupboards we have at ours. Mutter grumble. I did re-jig the folding techniques somewhat to accommodate the relative size differential (in comparison to those tiny Japanese Lady Things) of Man sized (and tall lady sized) items of clothing . Sweet folding spots are over-ridden by the gravitational pull exerted by a XXL hoodie.

Books and paper – I did a massive cull of books last year, and while I’ve had to resort to buying the odd paper book again, I’ve not bought *that* many. I’ve even backed away from the cook books. I have actually exchanged cold hard foldings for e-books as well since my previous source sorta dried up, damnit. And I have always been pretty good at paper – I keep what I have to and cull a year’s worth at a time.

Komono – As far as crap goes, that’s even been kept to an acceptable level. And, again with the discerning shopping… Not buying shit because it’s pretty is a good way to save a load of money and not necessitate an endless cycle of pulling out all the things and putting them all back again to squeeze in the new pretty thing that you are 98% sure you’re going to use once. Oops. There’s a couple of places I need to re-visit, and I still need to get an Old Person to sit down with me and name names in the photo albums, but aside from that – all good. When I look into cupboards, stuff is still more or less where I left it a year ago, if it’s been used, it’s gone back, if it hasn’t been used, it’s still Weird Shit you can’t actually throw out, because it’s all stuff that you’ll need it when you need it and not before, and the effort to procure said weird shit outweighs the minor irritation of keeping it in the damn cupboard.

So, at the end of the day, realistically I am not a minimalist and I never will be. I am never going to end up with bare walls and one artfully placed blossom in a gorgeous vase. While it’s nice to look at, it’s totally not my jam. I like to have nice things around me, and the people I live with also like to have their things out where they can be admired and enjoyed. (And where they can reach them, assuming there’s going to be a shortage of zooper dooper wrappers and chip packets in the future. But that’s mess that can be dealt with by the perpetrator in eleven seconds flat).

My house is tidy enough.

 

 

Right. Um. Where was I?

Down the back of the couch, obviously. I’ve been busy. No. Seriously, actually busy. For the last month, flat out like a dead lizard  – we’ve been away a couple of times and had a fair bit of Family Time as well, the Hound had to have an operation on her knee after a badly timed ute-jump (she’s not dealing with convalescence well – while it’s nice to see she’s lost none of her ridiculous personality, ninja jumps to the top of our very high bed are Not On, Puppy. Can’t quite manage another $1,600 to re-fix your knee) Had a bit of a technological disaster with the old laptop that (of course) hadn’t been cleaned out yet. Someone clicked something. They will NEVER do that again. Or I will possibly have to revoke interwebs privileges. That took a bit of sorting out, but I’ve now found a lovely computer guy for stuff that’s out of my league. AND the printer died (or didn’t want to talk to the new laptops, one or t’other) – tried living without BUT that was more annoying than I would have thought. Email to work, print, scan, send home, email to destination because private. Argh.

Plus, the kids have been tag teaming lurgies – Chaos’s turn this week. Mayhem was last week. Reg and my good self have been taking it in turns. Today is my turn. Coughing til you spew =/= going to school. Anyway – it’s probably time for a bit of a half time catch up on stuffs seeing as we’re half way through the year (and I owe about four posts that are all stumbling over each other in my brains). Half time it is then…

Firstly, the lard arse. I’m down about five or six kilos, depending on which way the wind is blowing. I’m going to pull my entire hand out of the cookie jar though and stop with the face stuffing, because I suspect that 5-6kg will revert to 3-4 kilos if I continue with the biscuits. I need to find a biscuit that is pleasing without being more-ish. (Chocolate Ripple, Scotch Finger, anything wafer-y, Tic Tocs and 100s and 1000s are all in the more-ish category. Teddy Bears are not so much). I could stop entirely with the biscuits, but there’s something about a cup of pretend tea that calls out for a matching little something something to go along with it. So the singular biscuit stays. Just need to cut out the plurals.

I’m doing excellently with the non-buying of lunches. I buy something maybe once a week (pretty keen on chicken karaage from one of the food court joints. It’s really tasty, and because it’s rice and chicken and salad, I can easily kid myself it’s healthy. It’s fried chicken. It’s probably not.) And I have succumbed to the siren call of the charity chocolates twice in six months – when I was reaching for my third packet of chippies, I was all just have the fucking chocolate. So I did, it was as shit as I remembered and eh, didn’t do it again for another  month (theme? Maybe there is.)

I did discover something related to my exercise (such as it is) and my mood though – if I get my steps in, I am pleasing of demeanour. If I  miss for more than a couple of days in a row, I range from slightly shitty to absolutely incandescent with rage. Small irritations are magnified by all the other small irritations and I end up best described as A Bit Fucking Cross. For three weeks. I can’t remember the last time I sustained a bad mood for three weeks. There were legitimate external influences on my mood, but seriously, my reaction to some of the really small things that happened? Good thing I don’t work with pointy objects.  I was starting to think it was the lady-pause because I am of an age; and I do remember Mrs McGee’s phases of less than impeccable rationality from my yoof. Three days of solidly hitting my step goal and PFFT!  Bad Mood was gone. Correlation co-efficient positive one. Steps up, irritations are irritations. Steps down? I’ll fucking run you through with a javelin or something. If I had a javelin. Which, in and of itself would be a source of further irritation. So, next time I’m that cranky…send me out for a walk well away from the pointy things.

On the topic of walking – Pokemon GO rocks. Also, anything that means I can go for a two and a half hour walk with the kids and no whining or fighting has to be totally awesome in my book. I’m not sure about the gym thing yet, although Mayhem is bursting at the seams to get me into a gym (he’s playing on my account because well, he’s 10. No phone for him). When he earns technology back, I might let him have a go (long story – tl;dr version = three strikes and no tech for two weeks). All those people with their po faces and sneering about the Pokemons can pretty much get stuffed because it’s fun. Just because I now walk the long way in through the front door of work because there’s three extra poke-stops compared to the back door… eh, it’s a couple of hundred more steps for me!

I’ve officially broken up with the Flylady (again), I’m still not tidying up BUT I am still bullet journaling. I had to step back a bit when I got carried away with the decoration and the pretty and best handwriting all the time. Couple of deliberate scrappy do lists and eh, she’ll be right. I stopped tracking goals because well, setting myself up for fail isn’t fun. But as far as keeping things on track, I’m doing pretty well. (The Hound got *all* of her injections on time because written down. Although Reg didn’t like me keeping the dog’s anti-inflammatories next to the kid’s antibiotics. NO idea why.) Tracking spending shit me because I can’t remember and hello, accounting for $3.80 for a coffee every day when I really do have no other vices… So now I am trying to SAVE $100 a month instead. Much more sensible.

My blanket is coming along nicely – it’s too big to be portable now, and I only have a strip and a bit to go (plus the border). The other project is also ticking along. I took it away with me and did two squares in two days. Actually, that’s probably the most legitimate reason I’ve not been writing – the bucket of time I have for writing is the same as the bucket of time I have for crochet, and crochet is winning. Because time is a finite resource subject to change without notice. And that is a topic for another day.

Still resting…

After what could best be described as a fairly frenetic KonMari attack on a large proportion of my house, I stopped just after Easter and embarked on a brief hiatus to see what would happen if I stopped with the tidying up of all the things… That hiatus has now entered its second month and I don’t seem to be in a rush to tidy up anything else. And you know what, the house is still looking ok.

Now, because I’m not keen on being told what to do, and nor am I keen on doing things the way they’re supposed to be done (just call me Miss Free-Range 2016), my approach to the whole KonMari business was probably a bit scattergun compared to the super orderly super structured purist KM methodology. I should also state up front and out loud that I still do have a fair bit of stuff that I like dotted about the place. This could well be described as crap (or komono) by some people, but I like it (or someone else who lives in my house likes it – looking at you, several butt-ugly paintings in various rooms in my house) and I reckon liking it is enough to meet the definition of joy-sparking. And no, I’m not consigning my teddies to the fucking bin, you heartless moll. Ahem.

I suppose I did start at the start, because I started with clothes, but it appears that I also embarked on the KonMari process before KonMari was a ‘thing’ – two years ago, I did a full kitchen makeover that involved gutting an entire room and remodelling. The method I used to decide what should stay or go was remarkably similar to the KM process. Although I also had to consider whether I used the item, and also whether I had room for the item as I lost a lot of cupboard real estate in the renovation ( I lost the equivalent of a row of cupboards as the old kitchen had cupboards to the ceiling and the new kitchen doesn’t.) I still regret parting with my gorgeous Italian ceramic platters and bowls, but I had nowhere to put them. And they’re the kind of thing I’d a) use once a year and b) had a viable if not as attractive alternative that fit in the damn cupboard. (To be perfectly honest, they didn’t actually fit in a cupboard pre-renovation – they were sort of tucked into a very high up cupboard and threatened to land on unsuspecting cupboard openers.) When I officially reached the kitchen section, I cleaned out the pantry (something that gets done twice a year anyway) and chucked a peeler that shit me and kitchen was done.

And as for sentimental stuff – a bit over a year ago, Chaos moved into his own room after sharing with his little brother for nine years (and us living in the house for 13 or so years at that point. You can imagine.). In order for him to be able to move, I had to clean my very important stuff out of the wardrobe and under the bed and in the corners of what was the spare room. This took me a week, I picked up and looked at every single box and item of stuff that was crammed into that wardrobe and got rid of a lot of stuff – goodbye uni texts and notes, nine years after I graduated is long enough to keep them (I had vague ideas of doing honours, but got a job instead). Goodbye 1988 tax assessment notice. And goodbye pictures of people I didn’t recognise. We filled a skip bin twice over. Not just out of that room, other stuff was being culled at the same time, but I had a red hot go. All my sentimental stuff that I wanted to keep is in a chest of drawers under the house. Three drawers instead of an entire wardrobe and ALL the drawers, several boxes under the bed and a whole lot of other seekrit locations.

But I did tidy my clothes ‘properly’, and, with permission and some assistance, the clothes of the Gentlemen. The win for me is that despite actively removing at least half of my clothes, I have more clothes to wear. And a couple of things I didn’t feel the love for any more are now back in the rotation of clothes I wear (it appears I didn’t have issue with the skirts themselves, just the shirts I used to wear with them. I’ve culled the shirts and wear the skirts with different tops. I still need new trousers, but I’m looking at how I can mend the hook on one pair because the fact they don’t stay done up is what causes the lack of love). After discarding a HEAP of clothes I’d worn once, and some that still had tags, I am so much more discerning in my purchases. Even if something is sparking hot pink electric neon ‘buymebuymebuyme’ joy – like a pair of 8-hole cherry red Doc Martens on proper sale ($90 off) and in my size that stayed right where they were for someone else to love because you know what, they weren’t that comfortable and I really do get hot feet.

The most astonishing thing though is how damn easy it is to keep the wardrobes under control. It took me just over 15 minutes in total(!!!!!!!!) to tidy our wardrobes, including refolding Reg’s jumpers and actually folding my t-shirts (eh, I am lay-zeee. They come back from the ironing fairy on hangers and um. Sometimes they don’t make it to the drawer. But because I only have eleventy bazillion shirts instead of a gazillion, there’s room, so it’s ok.) I was dreading tidying Mayhem’s wardrobe – there was shit everywhere. And seven and a half minutes later. What mess? Yes, I timed it. I’m a dork. Chaos sorted his wardrobe on his own (he’s 13) in under five minutes.

The paper situation at ours has also stayed relatively under control, and the discernment in grocery shopping has continued. Most weeks, I’m under budget; last week, we went to the pub and spent the grocery money on beer and steaks. Oops.  Nobody starved. All good. Nothin’ to see here…

I suppose I will go back to it eventually, because there’s still stuff that needs dealing with (probably. Ok, definitely. We have about a million DVDs. Or two million. And Netflix). But after a solid three months of tidying and sorting and rearranging and finding more sensible storage solutions, I’m done enough for now. The house feels lighter, and I can now “see” the maintenance that need doing – like changing light fittings so we can have some task lighting in the dining room, getting some art for the kitchen, cleaning or replacing the carpet in the lounge room…And painting. We’ve been here 14 years, and it needs doing. Not having clutter to ignore means I can see the work that has to be done.

I’ve read some srsly negative shit about the process and how “first world” it is, and how only people who can replace the shit they cull can afford to do it, and people who can’t afford it will be throwing out stuff they need. And the poor people and the war refugees and the hoarders, it makes them seem bad for holding on.Except it’s not like that. Well, not for me, anyway – I’ve not replaced stuff I’ve got rid off, except for a vegetable peeler and a couple of t-shirts. I repaired my coat, and I’m looking at fixing (or, most likely, getting someone else to fix) my pants. Yes, the Jobs that need doing are going to add up, but hello. Actually live in the first world, so the having of a house that needs maintenance is a problem that I have. It’s more about living better with less crap. I’ve not got rid of sentimental stuff, or stuff from my grandmother… I hate to think what will happen when I have to deal with my mum’s stuff, but hopefully, she’ll continue to go through her own KM process in the mean time (and keep giving me things she knows I will appreciate and look after.)

 

 

#Bujo – or the one where I’ve been gettin’ down with the cool kids

Ok, the other thing I have been doing aside from crocheting and reading is bullet journaling. I used to do it properly a while ago – however, lost my damn notebook and went back to writing the endless list each week. Found said damn notebook whilst doing the Kon Mari shenanigans (I’ve not actually *stopped* with the KM bidness, more letting nature take its course and seeing how things flow naturally without my un-naturally cleaning the fuck out of everything that stands still for more than two seconds. Is ok so far). Digressing again. Where was I? Bullet journaling. Which is shortened to BuJo for obvious reasons that don’t need the explains. The whole Bullet Journal thang was invented in this format by a bloke called Ryder Carroll and taken to a whole new ridiculously creative extreme by just about everyone in the universe who a) likes stationery and b) likes writing lists. And yes. That would be me.

Now the normal procedure is to show pictures of ones BuJo and explain the process. Dunno if you’ve noticed this wee thing about my blog… it’s all words and no pictures. This means I am going to attempt to explain the hows and the whys without illustrations. Testing. So, this will probably end up being more about the philosophies and less about my dodgy handwriting and doodle-ability.

It’s pretty cool actually, and strangely good fun. I started again officially at the beginning of April, after having a wee trial in the old notebook. I think one of the reasons I didn’t stick to the old notebook was because I didn’t really like it. It was a grid Moleskine, and a bit smaller than A5. I have man hands and large, girlie handwriting. This was a teensy little space to write in. It was NOT sparking the joy, so I repurposed it into more of a general notebook and the place where I do the testing of new layouts and all that. I’ve got a Leuchtturm1917 that I acquired (quite legitimately) when I was in the Big Smokey at magnation in their stationery section (epic discuss about the relative merits of Moleskine v Leuchtturm1917 with the wee young lass in the shop. She agreed about the size issue. I am not mad.)

When I was a kid, I used to LOVE the day we got new stationery, and when I got a new book I was always so careful to use my best handwriting and rule all the pages neatly. Of course, this always went to shit by day three of the new book and I was back to my squirlywhirly mishmash of writing styles (I started school in one state where proper cursive was the thing, and moved to another state where it was more joined up printing. My handwriting is a mixture of both. A year of graphics and I have beautiful block printing. Still, it’s a shame about my handwriting.) Anyway, the look and smell and feel of opening that page for the very first time… swoon.

Therefore, you can imagine my quite grown up delight cracking open the pages of my new journal and feasting my eyes upon the glorious creamy goodness of 200+ untouched pages. Ahem. I need a moment.

Alright, where was I. Swooning over stationery. Girl’s got to have a hobby. Now, the traditional set up for a bullet journal can be seen in the video in the above link. Mine is sort of similar-ish. I have a couple of collections – nowt fancy.

  • List of books I’ve read/want to read
  • Stuff I want to watch on telly and movies I want to see
  • Music I’ve heard I like
  • Meals everyone likes divided up by protein source

Then I leap into a sort of calendar thingy for the month (list of dates with events, appointments etc, I attempted colour coding it for one month. That didn’t last.) and a gigantic to do list for the month. That list is mostly Big Jobs that need doing. The benefit of this is that they become top of mind instead of wafty loose ideas that pop up to the surface every now and then. And it sort of works… a couple of things that were on the radar for oh, two years, actually got done. Gasp. This year, I did our tax before the accountant sent me a reminder letter, I organised a shelf for a cupboard that I’ve wanted done for ages (two years when the kitchen was renovated) and I cleaned the oven. Also for the first time in two years. (It wasn’t that bad, it had been wiped out a few times.)

I also set some personal challenges and tried tracking habits. Ahem. Well. Set myself up for fucking failure. Nice one, Maudy. So, I got all totally mindful and gave myself a talking to, looked up SMARRT goal setting and applied that. Small goals that are specific and measurable. Fucking der, man. Being much more successful in May. Although I seriously suck at sleeping. I tried tracking spending, but memo to self – school holidays is *not* the time of year to be doing that sort of thing. $20 here, $50 there, $40 for the pictures, $10 for a magazine… eh,that was a bit fucked up. I’m trying again in May, but I keep forgetting to write shit down. I don’t think I’ll bother in June.

One thing I really like about this methodology is – well, if something’s not working, you can ditch it. I realised pretty quickly I needed a weekend list (usual suspects – washing, planning and hunting for the family, plus odd shit I want to do) and that a weekly list as well as my daily mini-lists was essential because there was ALWAYS something I needed to remember for a couple of days ahead of time. On the weekly list I have a wee to-do list, and I’ve added my Flylady-esque cleaning lists. My cleaning fairy does the basics, my fly-lists are 8-10 little jobs that are nice to be done but don’t really matter if I don’t do them – again, because they’re on the radar, they’re at least done every couple of months. Win. The daily lists are the half a dozen odd things I need to remember on a given day. I’ve been having a few “moments” lately, so I’ve added some stuff I wouldn’t usually list to keep my head where it needs to be (above my shoulders and not so much hiding under a bin. Long story.) So far, so good.

I did take up grown up colouring in – although I do like it, it’s not really practical for anything aside from letting your mind roam free. The thing about this exercise is it helps me focus. I know what needs to be done because it’s written down, I don’t have to remember, I just have to check the list. I’ve got notes on how to do stuff (like, fixing the damn emails) and highlights of the month. It’s quite soothing to sit down with my gigantic tub of stationery and write shit down, draw a few pictures (even if it’s just the weather) and mess about with washi tape (I cannot believe I did not know what washi was until six weeks ago. I am Feeling The Lerve). And my handwriting is improving – my typing, on the other hand, appears to be going to shit! These things happen and I will get used to this damn keyboard.

Also, I have this vague idea of Future Ancestor discovering a box full of journals in the future and flicking through them and finding out about the minutiae of the day to day life of someone in the 21st century (and their eyes glazing over with the boredom as they read of washing and cleaning and what we ate. Social history as it happened)

And there you go, 1,300+ words and no pictures. I hope you found it illuminating.

 

No no she’s not dead, she’s, she’s restin’

Yes, definitely not dead. And yes, definitely having a wee rest from the tidying up of all the things. There comes a point in ones life when one has folded and tidied everything into submission (or as close as can be considered submission when a) one lives with other people and b) one is steadfastly ignoring the sentimental category); and when one has realised that one would like to, you know, do other shit that one considers fun, one hangs up the garbage bags and loans the books to someone else and um. Does other shit for a bit.

I’ve just had the school holidays off with absolutely NOTHING on. This is the first time since ever (I think, definitely BC) that I have taken two weeks off with the sole purpose of doing one full time job instead of two. It’s been rather good, actually. I have certainly done some tidying – the laundry now no longer makes me shudder every time I go in there. I would have liked to have painted it (long involved story, don’t go there), so I have to wait. And I did in fact sort out the filing cabinet and the cupboard it was in (which was actually more of an issue than the filing cabinet). You can now open and close the cupboard without fear of things landing on ones head. I even ditched the bath toys. The offspring are now 10 and 13. They don’t use bath toys any more. I filled the rubbish bin (and the recycling bin) several times, and I’m spreading the lerve around the local op shops. So yeah, time for a break from the cleaning and the tidying. And I did a spot of crochet – not as much as I’d hoped, but none the less, I have two sets of squares to complete. I did stuff with the kids – took them to the skate park, took them to the pool (wee horrors made me get in with them!) took them shopping… let them go see Batman v Superman in the fancy cinema all by themselves because no. Just no. Deadpool yes. Daredevil? Love it sick. Batman and Superman? Not my cup of tea.

And I’m also looking into mindfulness again. I discovered it many moons ago when I had a one year old and a four year old and spent my entire days alternating between screeching like a banshee and locking myself in my room and rocking just a little bit. I discovered a book called “Buddhism for Mothers with Lingering Questions” by Sarah Napthali – apparently, it was the second one. Nowt like starting in the middle. BUT in saying that, when I picked up the book when I was doing the great book cullage, and after I laughed at *all* the tags and flags and bookmarks (there’s like forty including and not limited to post its, bandaids (unused), shopping dockets, tags from clothes…) and had a flick through, I was all yeah. Ok. I need to look at this again.

I am a bit of a stress head. In my case, I am talking very literally. When I get a bit cross and a bit tense and a bit under pressure, I tend to clench my jaw. I have a very strong jaw. VERY strong. I’ve cracked oh, five teeth. I suspect that they were all a bit cracked, but I’ve fucked one six ways to sideways and I shall shortly be flash as a rat with TWO gold teeth. That’ll be $3K thanks very much. That’s more than my first two cars cost. Put together. Anyway, so that I can avoid being the proud owner of five gold teeth I need to loosen up a little. Meditation is not my strong suit – I have a very untidy mind and the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. So, yeah, I’ve never had much success with meditation. And according to the other book I bought (Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life) – you can’t meditate until you can do mindfulness. Also, there’s a wee quiz. If you score ten or less, you should go see a mindfulness counsellor or a psychologist. I got eleven. It appears I need work. I’ve been reading bits and bobs from that book and from Lingering Questions, and I’ve also been revisiting ole mate Marcus Aurelius. He’s often got some suitable words for the less stoic among us. This little gem popped up when I was looking for something else – you could consider it a Sign if you were that way inclined.

Look within. Let neither the peculiar quality of anything nor its value escape thee.

(Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. (121–180).  The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.)

That statement applies well to almost everything that I’ve got going on at the moment – The KonMari business, the need to increase my mindfulness (even if only to avoid spending the other $5K on fixing the rest of my teeth). So, my cunning plan is to at least tidy my mind a little bit and calm the fuck down. I’m also returning to a slightly expanded and flashed up version of Bullet Journaling (more on that later) in which I am going to be tracking some new habits like, you know. Going to bed at a reasonable time, doing creative shit, reading…

(Eight minutes to go clean ma teeth, wash ma face and get into bed! G’nite)

 

 

*Title shamelessly stolen and slightly altered from the Dead Parrot sketch by Monty Python

Mindfulness (or how KonMari turned me into a discerning shopper* and I stopped eating chocolate)

Since I climbed aboard the KonMari train, my house is definitely starting to show the effects. There’s still crap everywhere, but it’s more orderly crap (and mostly belongs to other people. The stuff that’s mine is totally not crap, ok. It’s my hobbies.) Stuff goes back where it’s come from, and the areas I have sorted out seem to have stayed sorted. It’s been about six months since I watched a couple of vids on the YouTube and about ten weeks since I read the books and started to take the whole business a bit more seriously. I am a lot more aware of what I own and I strongly suspect I’m more aware of *why* I own it.

Being mindful is basically all about being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to your thoughts on a moment by moment basis. Picking up everything I own, looking at it and considering its place in my life is being mindful. BUT (and this is a bit strange) I’ve noticed some peculiar side effects creeping into my life.

For example, the family grocery bill was always around $300-350 a week. Sometimes a little more, and rarely a little less. There’s four of us, one teenager, one ten year old and a couple of alleged grown ups. On top of that $300+, we’d either eat out or get take away once or twice a fortnight. That’s a LOT of money on food. However, in the last ten weeks or so, I’ve spent an average of $260 a week on groceries, and we’re eating out/getting take away less (probably once every two-three weeks instead of once every 1-2 weeks). That is a minimum of $400 we haven’t spent in the last ten weeks.

Now, my ‘meal planning’ (such as it is) continues to be as half arsed as it ever was. It’s still a vague list of protein and suggested cooking methods that’s subject to change without notice. I still buy crap I don’t need (why do they sell stationery at the supermarket, hrrm?) and I don’t think I’m throwing out any less than I did before (I’m perpetually chucking 1/4 of a container of cream, a handful of spinach leaves and half a manky tomato). Groceries have certainly not gone down in price in the last two and a bit months, so I really don’t know how the fuck I am managing to not spend $40 a week minimum.

It appears I’m just buying less stuff. My shopping list is shorter – it used to cover the entire page, and now – maybe half. I still go off piste and buy the odd thing or two that’s not on the list (Stabilo pens and cool boxes to keep stationery in. I am not obsessed), I think I am just more aware of what we have in the cupboard, the likelihood of using it all up between this week and next, and only putting stuff on the list when the answer to that question is yes, it will get used up. I’ve also stopped buying shit because that’s what I always buy (hello, looking at you seven bottles of mouthwash) and sticking to the list. Weird.

This shopping discernment is also applying to buying other stuff as well. I took Chaos and Mayhem clothes shopping after a quicky KM of their respective wardrobes (I have to say, even if you don’t go any further than sorting out your (and your family’s) clothes, it’s so worth it – I culled stuff the kids had grown out of really quickly, went through the biggest one’s discard pile with the little one, he’s picked out what he likes, and the rest have gone to the oppy. In the space of an hour. Do your clothes, do the kids clothes, even do the significant other’s clothes. It’s worth it. Future You will thank you so much.)

Anyway, digressing as always – Chaos needed clothes, Mayhem was well stocked up.  In the past, shopping for Chaos would involve me buying stuff, bringing it home, Chaos would vary from yay to meh about the purchases, but they’d all end up in his wardrobe with the items classified meh to be ignored for all eternity or he grew out of it. Or I’d take them both shopping and feel the parental urge to be Fair and buy them exactly the same number of things. This time, we had a list and we stuck to it. Chaos needed two pairs of chinos, a pair of trackies and a couple of t-shirts to replace the 10 or so he culled the other day. He also needed a dress shirt big enough to wear a t-shirt under. We came home with one pair of pants, one pair of trackies and three t-shirts because that’s what we found that he liked. And Mayhem came home with no clothes because that kid has enough clothing to last him ’til the end of the year.

Chaos looked at things. He tried things on. He discarded things he didn’t like. He discerned. And I am trying to do the same thing – while I’m on leave I’m wearing stuff I’m not sure about, and determining whether they’re going to stay or go. So far, two shirts are staying and two are going. I’m going to have nothing left the rate I’m heading!

The chocolate thing is even more weird. And mindful. It started when I was standing over the charity chocolates at work, internally debating the relative merits of a plain Freddo or a double strawberry one or both. I decided on both, but at the same time, realised that I didn’t particularly like the charity chocolates because maybe a bit stale, a bit room temperature and squishy and generally not very nice. I took the chocolates back to my desk and returned to the task at hand while I ate the unappealing chocolate and set my mind to the question:

“If I don’t actually enjoy this, why on earth am I doing it?”

I am stuffing my face with slightly squishy and not very nice chocolate because I want a break from my desk. Because the chocolate is in another part of the office, I have to get up and walk there. So, instead of chocolate, I have been having a cup of “pretend” tea (fruit flavoured tissane – best described as hot cordial – while I like the idea of tea, the reality is somewhat lacking in appeal). The really weird part of the not eating chocolate thing is that it extended to not eating it at home either (no, I wasn’t eating $40 a week of chocolate, that’s not why the grocery bill has declined), and I simultaneously stopped stuffing my face with half a block of fruit and nut every second night. A few days turned into a few weeks which turned into Easter’s around the corner, I’m not going to eat chocolate til Easter. Easter’s been and gone – and while I have in fact eaten chocolate, I’ve probably had 2-3 little eggies each day. When I think back to last year (and every year preceding), and the chocolate stuffing fiesta that took place… well. I think I’ve broken the habit.

I’ve also lost four kilograms. I think that is certainly related.

*Except, well, stationery supplies. I’m still buying stationery supplies. But they have less calories than chocolate and my kids can’t grow out of them.

Bandwagons.

Now, it appears the Fearless Purple Flylady is giving me the shits again – I am getting between 15 and 20 fly-posts a day (today was 30 I think) and in all seriousness, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone who’s been around as long as she has would have more than about 20 ‘stock’ posts that get regurgitated on a pretty much weekly basis. If I have to see one more post about how awesome those purple rags are or that fucking water bottle…

Yes. I have fallen into the aggressive phase of my passive-aggressive relationship with the Flylady. Maybe its the simplicity and minimalism of KonMari that’s completely turning me against her, and maybe it’s because Easter and she’s on the Jesus-train. Nowt wrong with that, just not down my throat tyvm. However, I will say easier to ignore on the Farcebook than her palaver cluttering up my inbox. I suspect that KM is not the only thing I can’t do ‘properly’ whilst working full time (or with childrens). I do have routines, but they’re pretty damn flexible. I do meal plan – if you consider writing a list of protein sources, proposed cooking methods and suggested days on a scrap of paper and sticking it on the fridge to be meal planning (there were two Thursdays this week. Interesting.) I also have a ‘shiny sink’ (tr: clear, wiped benches in the entire kitchen – who wants one wee oasis of clean in the middle of a schemozzle. The entire bench is clear before I go to bed); and whilst I do dress to shoes as soon as I get up because I walk the dog, that doesn’t count because they come off the millisecond after I walk in the door. However, my ‘dress to shoes’ is drying my hair properly and popping a face on, even if it’s just tinted moisturiser and mascara.

I’m not abandoning the KM train either – still wombling about in the crap carriage – two weeks of annual leave and I have two KM missions – the damn filing cabinet and the fucking laundry (it’s been shitting me for thirteen and a half years, so yeah. Something.) But more on that later. At least it’s getting cool enough for Reg to crank up the pot belly stove to burn all the crap when I deal with the filing cabinet. Definitely a win there.

Now, about 18 months ago, I had a dabble with Bullet Journaling. I stuck at it for about six months, then totally lost the book I was using. When I KM’d the crap out of my cupboard – whadderyouknow, found the wee fucker. I didn’t go find an alternative partly because the book I was using was NQR. It was a medium sized Moleskine square journal, and it was sort of too small but not for any real reason I can put my finger on (aside from my gigantic hand writing and equally gigantic man hands. They’re not that big, but yeah. I like a decent spread.) Bullet journaling is just a fancypants version of what I do on random bits of paper; and is pretty much how I operate at work (except that I use an A4 notebook, write on one side, and use the other side of the spread for notes etc). I started doing proper Bullet Journal stylie last week and fuck it’s good. I’m seriously tempted to do it hardcore when I go back to work – I’m managing two big projects with various deadlines, along with a couple of smaller ones. The two smaller projects I’m not even starting til May, but they’re on the list because oops, forgot. They’ve been off and on the list since oh – February. Anyway, I consulted Mr Google to refresh the whole bullet journal thing again.

Fuck. Me. Swinging.

When I first investigated bullet journaling, it was pretty low key – write a list in a book and index your lists so that you can find stuff you want to know about later, tailored to suit your needs, and no waste paper because just the days you use. Simples. In the last 18 months or so, it appears to have evolved. A lot. People have embraced the #bujo (it’s even got a fucking hashtag. Seriously.) and the Google is full of these beautiful and creative masterpieces that are enough to turn an inveterate list maker such as myself into a bit of a squeamish wussy-girl. (I am allowed to call myself a wussy-girl because yes. Both. Specially when it comes to flowers and stickers and shit. And Washi tape. Although that’s sorta fancy). There’s this whole community of “planner-addicts” who do these elaborate (and slightly insane) decorated planner pages (I double dare you to Google Erin Condren Planners and look at the images.

Now, rest assured I am not totally bagging you if you’re a fan of that sort of thing. What ever pops your cork. But I still think it’s nutty as. There’s also a whole lot of people who do this in their bullet journal. They have lists and list and lists and challenges (and still have get up, go to work, come home and play with journal as their entire to-do lists for the day. Sorry, I suspect I actually *am* bagging the journal/planner enthusiast. I really am sorry. I don’t like to bag people for their passions, no matter how weird. I don’t even bag bronies. Actually, I definitely bag bronies. Google them.)

Ok, now I’ve confused myself and made myself feel all guilty for picking on people for decorating their diaries…  I’m not only doing a bullet journal again, I am using the duck’s guts of journals… the legendary Leuchtterm1917 in red. My dad always told me to use the best tools I could afford – the paper in this shits all over the Moleskine, so I should be able to use a gel ink pen. I do prefer to write with gel ink. And I may or may not have an interesting and extensive collection of colourful gel pens. This is why I should not bag people for doing fancy arse journals. I have colourful pens. MANY colourful pens.  I am slavishly following the set-up instructions then I am going to go fully sick. And I can write down my “to read” lists, and a list of meals the fussy buggers I live with will eat, and pretty much anything I can think of, as well as keeping track of the gigantic to-do list that I have rolling about in my head. But I’m not doing stickers. Probably. They’d have to be super cool. And not pictures of dinner.

 

 

Still tidying up

I’m beginning to realise that for someone such as my good self, I am not going to reach a point with KonMari Method where I can sit back and say “Yep. Done now.” any tine soonly. In fact, possibly ever. For starters, I live with three other people, and I work full time, so it’s not just *my* crap, it’s four people’s crap; and time is something I don’t have a lot of. I still have to do all the housework stuff that’s not cleaning and ironing (I outsource that bit) and buy food and all that palaver. We don’t have the space for putting everything in a giant pile for however long it will take me to go through it, either, so I am forced to do things in smaller chunks than is probably optimal.

While I am definitely on the KonMari Train, I’m not taking the Bullet Train. I’m on the stopping all stations go back to go forward definitely taking the scenic route train, which has the odd trip down into a siding for a bit of a detour.  So far, I have dealt with my clothes (twice through properly, plus odd picking), books and probably 50% of paper. I have now entered the carriage on the Slow Train that’s clearly labelled  “Crap” (technically, it’s called ‘komono’, which I am pretty sure is actually Japanese for crap.) Now, Crap at my house is the shit that’s shoved in every single fucking corner of every room of the house. Some of it is even mine (looking at you, side table with my journaling stuff and my crochet and hey there’s “Spark Joy”). There is rather a lot of it. I’m glad I started on the other shit first, because hello – Crap is fucking daunting (and making me very fucking SWEARY!!!!) Rather than working by category like I am supposed to (I am SUCH a rebel – and honestly, I find crap is something that needs to be dealt with in small small doses), I’ve got a bit of a list of crap locations based on what shits me the most and I am working through it. The list keeps growing, but things are getting crossed off – and Other People have noticed that one can just put ones hand into the drawer where all the pens live and {gasp} find a fucking pen when you want it.

This is quite the miracle, because I swear that before I tidied that drawer, we had NO pens, NO pencils, NO calculators, NO rubbers and definitely NO rulers.  Prior to going through it and removing  toy cars, nerf gun bullets, several marbles, assorted lanyards, eleventy bazillion glue sticks and who knows what else, I bought a packet of ten ballpoint pens and a packet of pencils and a couple more erasers because homework cannot be done without them. I could have saved myself $10 at Officeworks because yeah – underneath all the Crap that was shoved in the damn drawer – more pens,pencils, rubbers, calculators and rulers than you can poke a stick at. It’s all nicely sorted into appropriately sized boxes (Reject Shop gift boxes for the win – under $6 and I used the box lids in another cupboard!) I also need to back away from the Kikki.K pens. Bag of rubbish from two drawers. Ahem.

Then I embarked on the top of my wardrobe – there are three main categories of stuff in my wardrobe (aside from clothes – der):

  1. General crap I’ve shoved in the wardrobe to deal with later
  2. Archive-y stuff
  3. Sentimental hoo-ha

Now, the archive-y stuff is things like a 150+ year old photo album full of pictures of Ye Olde Dead Uns. Some of whom I’ve identified, most of whom… not so much. Hence my desire to go through some slightly more recent (like, you know, 50 – 70 year old pictures) with people who were alive when they were taken. And a clock. It’s old. It’s been painted poo brown and needs restoring. I need to find someone to do it (while it don’t do much for me, it does spark joy for other members of the household). Also, there may or may not be a couple of old journals that I’ve filed under the category “archive”. (They funny as fuck. Teenage and twenty-something girls are weird. It’s all dating pre-mobile phone. Lordy. The angst level is positively baronial. And I’ve actually toned down with the swears. No. I have. I don’t pepper my prose with c words any more.)

As I mentioned well above, there’s not a chance in hell that this train will ever reach its destination – because seriously, Joy is transient, and stuff you love right now will undoubtedly shit you later on (just look at old pictures of yourself – the really old ones when you’re feeling hip and totes funky and all in your best outfit. While the picture will spark joy (of the tears of laughter kind), the outfit itself? Eh, not so much. And if you think about it – you get yourself all minimalist now, and never go through anything again – up to your armpits in komono again before you know it. And nerf gun bullets.

Prime example of transient joy inducing clothing – I’ve just released the last FOUR out of four t-shirts I bought.

  1. Shirt #1 – A case of Needs Must – I desperately needed a white top to wear to a meeting because I forgot the ironing fairy wouldn’t get back in time for me to use one I already had. I bought one, and I was suss on it from the start. I was right, it didn’t wash well, and even being nice to it, it lost its shape by the third wash. Gone.
  2. Shirt #2 and #3 – This time, it was a case of inappropriate packing. I packed for the weather at home, not at my destination. I needed short sleeves. I grabbed two t-shirts in my size, tried them on and eh, they’ll do. Except I loathed the cut of both of them and spent the entire time I wore them picking at them. Gone.
  3. Shirt #4. I know not what I was thinking. It was a cranky purchase, I think. The fabric is shit, it has the same cut as #2 and#3 (which I loathe) and the colour is not flattering. It’s a beige-y pale blue. Permission granted to evict.

So, yeah – still need two white t-shirts. And I am going to make damn sure that whatever I buy fucking well sparks something that’s not “it’ll do” before I buy anything new. We’re embarking on some kind of epic budget shit thing starting April and I don’t reckon spending $100 on shirts to donate to the op shop three months later is really going to be an awesome line item. I tell you what, that winter coat I need will be a very discerning purchase.

Scatter-gories or where I mix up KonMari Maudy style

Well, I finished reading the second Marie Kondo book, Spark Joy, (six books in seven weeks, yay me!) and I have to say it was a really quick and easy read – You sort of do need to read the first book first, although you can probably get away with just reading this one (I bought the two of them after skimming through this one in a posh little bookshop. The wench behind the counter was giving me the stare of death because I was woman-handling her books, so I put it back and bought it somewhere else. Take that, you pretentious wanker. Try paying the rent with nowt but bad attitude. Muttergrumble, old woman shouts at clouds.)

Anyway, the two books are like a text book and practical manual really – the philosophy is strong with Life Changing Magic and not so much with Spark Joy – as an aside, I read some of the reviews for Spark Joy – um. Did they not actually pick up the book and look at it before they bought it? Ahem. Someone is whinging because it doesn’t go through every single type of thing in their house, like you know, art… Someone else wants to know how to organise her kitchen because she doesn’t like the KM way. The rules are pretty easy to understand – does it make you happy? Yes, keep it. Does it shit you? Chuck it. Simples. Some people seem to want too much from the books, I think. Me, I’m happy with the inspiration to do something at least about the crap about the place.

I’ve so far gone through my clothes (twice – last time round, I chucked a skirt that I’ve been glaring at every time I look at it, and a frock that I really loved the fabric – but hated every single other aspect of it from the cut onward (it was a fat chick size, and while I am actually a fat chick, I’m not  standard fat chick shaped. Particularly in the arm department.) I kept a few things that may not make the cut next round –  specifically, I still have five items that do not spark anything remotely resembling  joy taking up valuable space in my wardrobe – however, if I discard them now, I will have no winter work pants, no winter coat and only one winter skirt. I live in Victoria. It could be winter next Tuesday. No winter work clothes is not optimal. So, despite their lack of joy sparking, they be staying until I find some replacements. And seeing as I’ve been desperately seeking a new winter coat since um. The winter before last winter. I’m not holding my breath (although I am refusing to get the bloody thing dry cleaned on the off chance I find a new coat before it does get cold. Are you listening, cosmos?! Nice woollen coat, classic style, mid thigh length would be nice. Mid calf would be damn awesome) The work pants are another dire mission (big girls aren’t supposed to have long legs, apparently) – at least replacing my work skirts will be relatively easy.

I did also attack my books and culled ten boxes of books that are headed to the school fete and at the same time, discovered I sort of already keep my stuff in categories. Books are either in the book case, or in the cook book book case, or beside my bed because I am still reading them. I don’t think KM is much of a reader to be honest. She doesn’t get the simple joy that is books and their potential. Anyway, around 300 books gone and I only cleared out two shelves (out of 12) on a 2m x 3.5m book case. My books needed some culling.

I’ve had a crack at paper, too – now, I cannot conceive the idea of collecting every bit of paper in the entire house and looking at it all at once. It strikes me as a bit ridiculous, to be honest. I’d need to keep putting it away to do stuff like, you know, eat, live, fold the damn washing. Plus, family of four, kids who are one step away from an episode of Hoarders, and a couple of hobbies that are either paper based or have a fair bit of paper involved. However – as I do in fact keep shit in loose categories anyway, albeit all about the house, I’ve done the pull out and cull a couple of categories and chucked (you guessed it) copious paper already.

The Paper categories I have are:

  1. Need it now – lives on the fridge, gets gone through whenever I notice something is no longer relevant
  2. Action stuff – bills that are to be paid, or need filing or whatever, miscellaneous stuff I need to do something with. I should deal with this more regularly. It takes fuck all to go through, but I just get swamped by the idea of it. Ok, I pay bills once a week – I’m not completely silly!
  3. Keep for a while but not for ever – warranties and receipts, etc. Old bills, that sort of thing (I keep bills/statements for two years because that’s as far back as I’ve ever needed to go check something) Quite frankly, I prefer a paper instruction book. It’s nigh impossible to print the fuckers out, and hey have you tried to balance a laptop on the stove while you work out how to change the light globe in the range hood? Much easier with the instruction book on top of the coffee machine. This is an annual job. Did it in January (see, I have always had a small, cranky Japanese lady inside me!)
  4. Keep for ever –  important stuff like birth certificates, passports etc. You can’t chuck them

I’ve ‘done’ one and two completely, and did #3 in January. I probably should get into the filing cabinet – but that might have to wait until I can sit on the floor without stressing about how on earth I’m going to get up!

I keep having little dips into other categories in a fairly half arsed and scatty fashion (scatty-gories, get it. I’m here all night) and I am continually surprised about what I can throw out – like that bottle of body wash that smelled weird and stung like a mofo when it came into contact with more delicate regions, half a bottle of hand sanitiser that nobody uses, all the miniatures I’ve acquired from hotels over the years, gone. That was another garbage bag of crap.

Basically, I’ve been eyeing off areas of my house (ZOMG, MAUDY. YOU DOING IT WRONG! Categories not rooms. Eh, shaddup.), and diving into what shits me the most, and when I have the time – combo Fly-Mari here, although I consider an hour a suitable amount of time to do a wee tidy mission, rather than 15 minutes. My laundry is shitting me at the moment. I think it’s days in its current state are severely numbered.

Essentially, I think the main message I’ve taken from both books is “hey, it’s ok to get rid of shit you don’t like or want” and just because someone you love gave it to you, you don’t have to keep it.  But the thing is, you don’t *have* to do all the things in the book to end up with a less cluttered life. I have a lot of stuff I like a lot that I don’t want to get rid of, but if I get rid of some of (if not all) the crap like clothes I hate, appliances that don’t work, books I can live without, that sort of thing, I will have somewhere to keep the stuff I do love. Which is most of my stuff really! But hey, work in progress right? And if the manly wardrobes can stay more or less tidy for six months without much intervention from me, I am so far ahead even if I go no further.

Do or do not. Tidy or don’t. Don’t whinge about it. Keep it if you love it, chuck it if you don’t. And keep your damn screwdrivers. And (I totes stole this from somewhere else, but it’s awesome) if you can’t decide whether something is useful and should be kept or not – if you can replace it in 20 minutes for less than $20, chuck the fucking thing out.

Miss Maudy v KonMari

When I was reading Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I came to a very strange realisation – the fundamental philosophy behind tidying KonMari style was the basic philosophy I utilised when I renovated my kitchen. Now, that was an epic epic job – the entire kitchen was being gutted to empty shell, and not only that, while the new kitchen was going to have more space, it was going to have less storage. When we first moved into this house, I was pregnant (and a little bit cray cray) and we were moving the contents of two kitchens worth of stuff into one. Shit got shoved in cupboards, never to be seen again until the day we did the giant clean out. Anyway, with assistance from mum, we pulled every single thing out of every single cupboard and every single item was handled by me and a decision made about whether it should stay or go – first run through, I probably got rid of 40% of the crap in the kitchen – most of which ended at the op shop, some at mum’s place. Fast forward two weeks and I’m ready to move everything back in, and I revisited each item again and got rid of another third of what was left. Every single thing left in the kitchen has a purpose and a place, including the Kitchen Witch (ye olde Scandinavian or even ye olderer European tradition – I’ve had her for years, and she lives in the cupboard).

Two years later… seriously, the damn kitchen is the easiest room in the house to clean because it NEVER gets untidy. Ok, occasionally there’s crap all over the bench, but it goes away really quickly to where it belongs. In two years, the sum total of ‘tidying’ I’ve done in the kitchen is sorting the pantry every six months, and  occasionally tidying the plastics drawer. That’s it. One room in my house is always tidy and almost always clean. (Ok, two – our bathroom is so minimalist anyway, that it stays tidy by default. I probably spend twenty minutes a year in there, tidying up and that’s when I go through the medicine cabinet to chuck out of date shit). And therein lies the proof in the slightly underdone puddin’. Getting rid of most of your crap means it’s easier to keep the rest of it under submission. In fact, it almost does it by itself. Who. Would. Have Thought.

It appears I have test-KonMaried a room and it worked.

Now, I know declutter THEN clean is the underlying message of the Flylady, however, KonMari is more flat out like a lizard drinking go at the decluttering ’til your head explodes or it’s done; and Flylady is pissing around, picking at the edges for 15 minutes at a time. I’m more of a boots and all type, so yeah. Singing my song. Loudly, albeit slightly out of tune.

Before I bit the bullet and read the book, I’d already gone through my clothes and culled three or four bags of clothes and shoes. After I read the clothes section though, I went through them again and whadderyou know – there was a whole bundle of stuff that barely sparked ‘meh’ so out they went. When I was a callow yoof, I used to drive my mum insane (it’s in my contract, I still do) because, while I was a scatty, lazy teenager (and a scatty lazy twenty something and maybe thirty something, if I am completely being honest here) with a propensity to fling shit from one end of the house to the other, and store things in precarious piles, my wardrobe was always immaculate. Shirts hung in sleeve lengths and colour coordinated and everything. So, when Ms Kondo was talking about how to organise and how to hang your stuff once you’d culled it – man, I was humming her tune. I rearranged three t-shirts in the drawer, pulled out two more for the ‘meh’ pile and I could feel the damn joy in that drawer. It was singing. Weird, hey.

The wardrobe – I realised that some of my skirts would rather be hung by the waist than over a hanger, and I got rid of *another* bag of stuff from one tiny section of my wardrobe that I’d already been through twice before. I do have a wee selection of clothes that I do like but I don’t fit into – BUT as I am losing weight, albeit slowly, they can stay until a) they fit or b) I change my mind. This includes a truly gorgeous frock that I adore (it sparks lerve, baby) BUT the fucker is a wee bit tight across my bum and across my bosom (which became formidable). If I don’t lose enough weight to fit in it without feeling like Jessica fucking Rabbit, I will sell it at the end of the year.So there. Said it in public. That means I have to, doesn’t it!?

I’m not one for a heap of accessories – I wear the same pieces of jewellery every day, I use the same handbag every day, and the odd bits and bobs of jewellery I have that I don’t wear all the time, I still like so it’s all stayed; I ditched a couple of unsuccessful handbags and that was that bit done. Our room is still a work in progress, I have the entire top shelf of my side of the wardrobe to go – there’s a LOAD of crap up there, but it all belongs to non-clothing related categories, so it can wait for the time being or until the siren call of that damn shelf becomes too hard to resist.

All my books are in one place (ok, two places. Cook books are in the dining room, and I went through them at the same time as the kitchen. Everything else is in a 2m by 3m book case. I’m onto the book case at the moment – this is epic. The Knee will not allow me to kneel, and it’s too fucking hard to stand up from ground level without using my knees at any point. So, I’ve dragged in a bench from outside, and I’m sorting fiction into the boxes. Non-fiction can wait until I can kneel!  Now, I’m not looking for books to spark joy, because quite frankly, ALL books spark joy. I’m using a much more pragmatic sense – “Do I love this author enough to buy their books in paper?” and “Am I ever going to read this again?” Nope goes in a box, yep and maybe goes back on the shelf for now. I figure when I go through what’s left on the shelf, a few more will end up in a box. So far, six boxes and 190 books are heading to the school fete in a couple of months. Wins all round.